I'm not one who gets tied up in particular philosophies or philosophical movements, so I have to first say that until someone on Twitter pointed this story out to me, I had no idea who Stefan Molyneux
was. I was vaguely aware that there were folks supportive of anarcho-capitalism, but I tend to find people who identify too much with philosophies, rather than realities, a bit tiresome. Either way, Molyneux, who writes and speaks frequently about being against "state" violence and has spoken out about how he doesn't support intellectual property law, apparently chose to make use of the DMCA to take down a bunch of videos
an account that apparently has mocked Molyneux and apparently hypocritical actions/statements he's made. As I type this, this is what TruShibes' YouTube account looks like
In going through a whole bunch of commentary on this, there appears to be an awful lot of personal animosity going back and forth between certain people who don't like each other very much, so beware that when you read some of the source documents or view some of the video discussions, they assume a level of knowledge with many of the players that you may not be familiar with. For example, this video by "anarchocap" appears to be the most thorough
, but is fairly confusing at the beginning if you don't know who anyone is.
The key point, however, is that a guy working for Molyneux's "Free Domain Radio," named Michael DeMarco, has admitted that he issued the DMCA notices on behalf of Free Domain Radio not because of any legitimate copyright reasons, but because he claims that some of the people who had called in to Molyneux's talk show had been harassed. Apparently, there was another account, FreeDomainDamon, that was using Molyneux's videos to highlight details of his callers. However, it appears that TruShibes was not
doing that, but was rather calling out activities that TruShibes found to be hypocritical by Molyneux, with a specific focus on him supposedly bullying callers. In that video above, there's also a clip of Molyneux basically saying he doesn't support intellectual property law.
That video also highlights a post on Molyneux's Facebook page
in which he declares "IP must die" in response to an article by Mark Cuban on reforming patents
So it's always interesting when people claim to not support intellectual property laws at all, but then abuse them for their own benefit. Furthermore, Molyneux went on to Joe Rogan's podcast and flat out admits that the DeMarco did this for reasons that had nothing to do with copyright
. It's at about 50 minutes into the linked clip. Specifically, he says:
Molyneux: So there was a guy... I won't say troll, because that will poison the well. There was a fellow out there.
Rogan: A gentleman.
Molyneux: A gentleman of trolly persuasion. I do these call in shows, and people talk about philosophy and ideas and whatever. And he had gotten some of those calls, and through means I don't pretend to understand, you know doxxing -- where you start revealing people's personal information -- he got pictures of their kids, he found out where they lived...
Molyneux: He had just done stuff where he was...
Rogan: So someone called in and he got pictures of their kid?
Molyneux: What can I tell you?
Rogan: Why would he do that?
Molyneux: Can I pretend to know why people do this, no.
Molyneux: So, everyone uses my stuff and I don't care about it. You can do a search on YouTube for my stuff and everybody who said 'I'd really like to reuse your stuff' I'm like 'hey, go for it.' Right? But we had a number of listeners who called in and said, 'listen, this guy is doing some pretty creepy stuff with my personal info here, I'm not comfortable with this.' So we used that mechanism to take that down. It's got nothing to do with copyright or anything like that, I just felt that listeners were being acted against in a negative way. A significantly negative way, so that's what we did. It's got nothing to do with copyright or anything like that. People use my stuff all the time.
Now, Molyneux's position that the trolling/harassment was a problem is a perfectly reasonable argument to make. But YouTube has a process
for dealing with harassment and cyberbullying, and it's not abusing federal copyright law to silence those videos. And, while it's unclear if FreeDomainDamon was actually bullying Molyneux's readers, from everything that people have been presenting online in various forums, it seems pretty clear that TruShibe was not
doing that, but was merely critical of Molyneux. However, thanks to multiple copyright claims against TruShibe's YouTube account, the entire account has been taken down.
It does seem odd for someone who claims to be an anarchist and against "state violence" to then use copyright law to take down critical videos. I can understand the desire to avoid having listeners intimidated or harassed, but abusing copyright law seems like the wrong way to go about it. Not that it seems likely this will lead to a lawsuit, but the very fact that Molyneux flat out admits that this "had nothing to do with copyright" while using copyright law to silence a critic suggests that he may have opened himself up to DMCA 512(f) claim
for "materially misrepresenting" his copyright claim with regards to the videos (many of which would have a strong fair use claim as well.
Either way, if you're going to go around claiming that you're against intellectual property and an "anarcho capitalist," it's going to look pretty sketchy when you use a federal law like copyright to censor someone else's speech that is critical of you.